Photo by Diane Helentjaris on Unsplash
I’ve noticed that whenever I mention that we’re pursuing financial independence that I get the same line from a lot of people. You’ve said it, and I’ve said it. We’ve all heard it.
“I don’t make enough money to save any/any extra.”
I’m here to tell you that that is NOT true!!! There are so many easy ways to increase your savings, and they’re things you might have never even considered, or things that you’ve written off because they’re outside of your comfort zone. Sometimes though, we have to go outside of our comfort zone, especially if we want to see a real change.
So, I’m sharing with you some ways that we have personally used to increase our savings.
1. Create a dang budget!
We use You Need a Budget (YNAB), and it has helped us to know exactly what we have and where we’ve placed it. We’re able to better plan for events like weddings, birthdays, and Christmas, and to save for items that we want, such as that precious deck I’m no longer getting or a second trip to Germany.
2. Cut the cable!
There are so many streaming services you can utilize, that a cable package that runs you $200 a month when there’s nothing on is a useless way to spend your money. We’ve been without cable for two years (we never had it in our house), and we’re far from suffering.
3. Meal plan!
Some people might not be a fan of this method, or they might feel that it doesn’t help you save, but I promise you, it does! Sure, we occasionally go over our budget if there’s an excellent sale on meat we’re low on or out of, but it’s not often. Meal planning allows us to avoid eating out because we don’t know what’s for dinner, and we always have something for breakfast and lunch.
4. Lower your cell phone plan!
Right now, we have Verizon prepaid plans. For about $40 a month, we have full Verizon service without all the added fees that come with having a contract. We have excellent coverage, and we own our phones outright (so we’re not “renting” them from Verizon either). In our area, we’ve had the best luck with Verizon, but AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint all have prepaid options. There are also options such as Republic Wireless that you can look into.
5. Utilize your public library!
Seriously, the library isn’t just for books now! You can rent movies, TV shows, CDs, audio books, magazines, cook books, and of course – books. Your public library likely has various other services that it offers – all you have to do is ask!
6. Learn to do things yourself!
This is one where people might complain, but hear me out. Cutting your own hair (or, cutting your partner’s), changing your own oil, fixing your own appliances – those are things you can do to save money! We’ve started changing our own oil, fixed our washer, installed our toilet, and we’ll be replacing our flooring soon. We’re saving so much money by doing these tasks ourselves. YouTube often has great videos to help you along, and the internet is a bevy of information. Use it!
Initially, getting a garden going can be pricey if you don’t have good soil or a great area (we built raised beds, out of cedar, so that was an investment), but once you have it going, a garden can save you money! At our grocery stores, fresh herbs such as basil are sold in tiny packages (think about 10 leaves) for around $4. For that same price, I bought TWO basil plants, and have more than I know what to do with! We’ve planted peppers (sweet, jalapeno, and poblano), lettuce (little gem, and romaine), beans (they’re not faring well), tomatoes (cherry), and zucchini, all things that we regularly buy from Aldi. Not only is it saving money, but it gets us outside and moving, and to me, there’s nothing better than the feel of the dirt in my hands or the way something I grew myself tastes.
8. Stop trying to keep up with the Joneses!
This one is a difficult one to do too. When you see those around you buying a new car or new clothes, you want to do the same. You have money so why shouldn’t you treat yourself? Unfortunately, life isn’t an episode Parks & Rec, and you’re not Donna or Tom. Rather than having the treat yo’self mentality now, save that money! In the long run, you’ll get far more enjoyment out of saving it than you will when you spend it.
9. Be more active!
This is one of those list items that might offer up some confusion. Why would being more active save you money? It will help keep you busy, so you’ll be less likely to want to spend money. It will keep you healthy, so you’ll have fewer medical expenses. And it will keep you happy!!! So go for a walk, Take your bike out on a trail. Go for a run.
10. Dream about your future!
Seriously, do it. What do you want out of life? Personally, I don’t want to work or struggle. I want to travel, relax, and have fun. I want to spend time with those I love. I want to create. So, for this reason, saving money is important to me. Without saving, I cannot accomplish those dreams.
Bonus: Start a side hustle!
If you’re on Facebook or Instagram, you’ve likely seen people talking about hustling, being a boss babe, or their side hustle, which is admittedly usually an MLM company (I’m not recommending those, but to each their own). Do you have a hobby? For me, I love to crochet and make jewelry, which is why I have an Etsy Shop and an Etsy Facebook where I sell those things I create. It brings in extra money that either goes straight to savings, or right back into the business. Side hustles often allow you to be creative and to do something you thoroughly enjoy. It can also be a way for you to dive into something entirely new to you!
I hope you found this list helpful! I’m not anywhere near being FI, and I’m new to this movement, but I’m so happy to be on this journey, even if I fumble along the way.
Let me know in the comments if you have nay other tips or tricks for increasing your savings!